Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG: The Worst Advice You'll Ever Hear About Writing


Life is a tug o war.

Writing is a tug o war.

And I'm not talking about wrestling time out of the day to actually do it. How torn are you?

Recently, I found myself reading a book that got me pondering: what is it that keeps you hooked? (And feel free to apply this to life as well.) You want a great plot. You want awesome characters you  can root for. You want drama, surprises, and an ending that leaves you satisfied. What don't you want?

Confusion.

I'm not talking about plot confusion, although that's pretty bad. I'm talking about emotional confusion. My daughter recently went through the terrible twos. My husband was confused about the sudden onset of tantrums. Why was our perfect angel a wreck? According to my research, two is the age at which kids start to process multiple emotions at once, and it's overwhelming. They can't handle it.

Adults aren't much different.

Writing/life really boils down to two things: Action VS Tension.

Action is pretty obvious. Things happen. We/characters react. Based on those reactions, we are improved or lessened, pushed toward our goals or further away. Action comes from outward forces, and then our response.

Tension is quieter. It's the subtle shifting of a mood, the emotional reaction to action. It's a building sense of peace or frustration, and I hate to tell you this, but you have ALL control over this aspect in life.

When it comes to writing/life, I think we really have to ask WHAT DO I WANT TO FEEL? WHAT DO I WANT MY READERS TO FEEL? When we analyze life/writing from this perspective, we are empowered to get to the heart of the matter. When we face life on this level, we can change the helplessness of "feeling, just because." Root out the confusion. Take a solid direction.

Some of the worst writing advice out there (and life advice) is to focus on the plot: How are we getting from point A to Z. The amazing parts are in the feels along the way, the shift from joy to sorrow, sorrow to joy. The experience is what makes the ending worth it.


On a related note, how about the IWSG question for the month: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

I switch stories and find one that loves me for the moment. It's easy to do when you have 20+ WIP's just waiting for their day in the sun. Eventually I find the clarity to come back.

Huge thanks for hosting
Alex Cavanaugh
Olga Godim, Chemist Ken,
Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan!

I have a SPECIAL privilege this month. Growing up, I knew one writer: the woman down the street with 5 kids (whom I occasionally babysat for). Today I get to introduce you to her FABULOUS daughter, Michelle R. Reid, whose debut novel has just launched! Does that rock or what?

Alice didn’t fall down a rabbit hole. She was pushed down a staircase by a white Playboy bunny. She wakes up in Oz as the newest participant of the 27th Alice Games. If Alice can survive the journey to the Emerald Castle and select Red Queen as ruler, Oz has momentary peace and Alice can go home. If Alice dies along the way, then Oz will turn into a hellish, eternal winter.

Alice suspects there’s more than that. If other Alices from Earth have already played, why is Oz still broken and frozen in time, repeating the Alice Games over and over? It’s time to unveil all the secrets and make this the last Alice Games ever played.

Then she meets the knight Ace, a charming distraction and possibly a threat. Ace’s past is as dark as Oz’s, yet Alice’s heart tells her that he’s the key to ending the Alice Games forever. Falling in love is irrational because she’s going home at the end, dead or alive. But oh, that smile. For once in her life, she doesn’t know if she should listen to reason, or trust an emotion she’s never put much credit in. With her life on the line, she can’t afford to be wrong.

Buy your copy on Amazon.

Ready to meet the author? From Michelle:

Stories have always been important in my life. From skits I made up for my friends while jumping on the trampoline (Moon Prism Power!), to my first full length novel I wrote in 8th grade choir against my teacher's wishes.

I am married to a wonder man and we have three very active kids that keep me on my toes. In college I studied Zoology, Biology, Art, and English. I drove my counselor nuts. I finally settled on wanting to be an author like my mom. (Alysia S. Knight--check her out!)

'Curiosity killed the cat' is a good saying for me. I love to figure out how all the pieces of the puzzles fit--whether it be in a book, movie, or real life situation. I like to take what I've learned and weave it into my books.

Michelle. gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. If you guess the lie, right or wrong, you will be entered to win a PRINT or eBOOK of ALICE GAMES. (Open internationally for eBook, US only for print.) DON'T HAVE A BLOGGER ACCOUNT WITH AN EMAIL ON THE PROFILE? No problem. LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENTS OR EMAIL IT TO crystal@crystal-collier.com WITH YOUR SCREEN ALIAS.

You have until Tuesday, May 1st at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on May 2nd, 8 a.m. EDT.
TRUTH OR LIE

1. I'm a certified falconer.
2. I was seriously studying to be a Manga artist when I was 18 years old.
3. The first time I saw Jurassic Park, I was eight, in a dark basement, alone, at Crystal's house! 

So sleuths, which is the lie? What's the worst advice you've ever received? What's your current life tug o war? Do you like fairy tale mashups?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Death Match Survival Mode, & IWSG


Isn't that pretty much how you feel about life? I found myself thinking today, "Oh well she only has 3 kids, so, you know." Ugh. I'm that mom. But there's some truth to it. Every time we add a new thing to our lives, there's an adjustment period, and it feels for a short time like we're going to lose our minds.

On that note, I'm here to lighten your mood and take some of the stress off--because heaven knows I need it too!

Feeling a little beat up?

Take a load off.

Put on some feel good jams and groove!

Break out your super powers

Find joy in the moment

And when things don't work out, don't be afraid to retreat to a safe place.

On a related note, how about the IWSG question for the month: How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story?

I go out to eat. Yup. That's the truth of it--or I leave the kids behind and go for a victory lap/drive. Oh, and I always post about it ALL over social media.

Huge thanks for hosting
Alex Cavanaugh
Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham, 
Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!

Last month, Bethany Kaczmarek, editor extraordinaire, offered a first chapter edit and shared two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed was entered to win.

The game:


1. I have a significant fear of waxed mustaches. As in, I close my eyes and back away rather than deal with them.
2. I write best when I'm in a room that's between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. I once put my sister's contact in her eye for her--with my spit.

The lie: #1. 

Bethany doesn't fear mustached. She thinks those are schnazzy--unless they're underneath crazy, unkempt eyebrows. Those? She will make an excuse and leave, do business over the phone, or do anything she can think of to politely get away from.

And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Congrats, Susan!

There is no giveaway this month, regrettably, because instead of being on social media, I've been feeding a baby her first solid foods, hosting family in my home for 2 weeks, and preparing for two family birthdays. Oh, and writing! *cheers* 

What big accomplishment have you made this month? Any parenting blunders you want to share? What are you boxing out in your person death match?